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November 23, 1968 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-11-23

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Inti irt4n-.f 1 In.:aw,:,. . ^ 1 040

aaruraoy, rvovemner 4j, 1 V(36

5

music

7aB
By R. A. PERRY
Anyone interested in music,
theatre, young talent, color,
comedy, love, wine, poetry, sex,
cats, or chocolate mousse should
see the School of Music's pro-
duction of La Boheme. Once
again, d e s p i t e unavoidable
drawbacks of occasional ama-
teurism, the enthusiasm of the
singers and the quality demand-
*ed by the team of Blatt and
Herbert make for an enjoyable
evening of opera. As in Zef-
ferelli's Romeo and Juliet, it is
invigorating to see young lovers,
not routine professionals, act
out their destinies with con-
vincing ardor.
Although I saw the last dress
rehearsal, it should represent
the finished product-lacking
only the tension of the audience
to goad the singers to fuller
characterization - and thus
criticism can. Justifiably be
made.
There are only two adverse
comments to mention before
happier facets of the perform-
ance can be explored. First, the
singers have not been adequate-
ly rehearsed with the orchestra,
and too often the timing be-
tween the two is off. This proves
rather disasterous in the first
act horseplay among -the four
theatrically inexperienced B-
hemians. La Boheme's popular-
ity belies the precise coordina-
tion required between singer and
pit. Although conductor Josef
Blatt obviously hates to let er-
rors pass (within the limits of
his performers), insufficient re-
hearsal time does take its toll.
Secondly, the role of Ro-
dolphe requires an outstanding
lyric tenor who can command
several octaves; such young men
are hard to come by. Alexander
Chmil though he tries heroial-
ly to fill the bill, lacks the re-
quisite power and range. His
voice almost always sounds from
the throat, with little reserve,
and though one cannot blame
him for bringing down an octave
his Act I final "Amore!," one
can takeshim to task for the
way he slides into notes, ad-
justing until he finds the right
pitch.
These things said, wonderful
moments abound in performance,
James Berg is magnificent as
the Rabelaisean Marcel. He not
only possesses a potent, rich bass
voice,. but he also uses it with
subtlety and dramatic expres-
siveness. His Act IV duet with
Rdolphe was especially moving,
and itAis easy to foresee a suc-
cessful career for this young
singer.
As Marcel's sometime mistress,
-L-nda Oakley adds another clear
tiumph to her still Ann Arbor
career. Turning from the co-
quettish Susanna she gave us
in Figaro this summer, she has
assumed the role of the vampish
Musette with a stage assurance
that is always arresting. She
uses het strong and never shrill
soprano voice with dramatic ef-
fect and no doubt her captivat-
ing waltz scene will stop the
show.
Joann Gustafson (Mimi) is
one beautiful women, and if she
came knocking at my door, I'd
light her candle, T.B. or no T.B.

loheme

invigorates

Alookcat...
'A Flea in Her Ear"
By Henry Grix
While boasting the cast and color to give it guaranteed
popularity, A Flea in Her Ear, now showing at the Campus,
is a miserable flop. It is not only contrived, boring, deja vu; it
is bad.
Beautiful people, veteran comics in impeccable clothes
and sumptuous decors can't divert the viewer's awareness that
he is seeing an embarrassingly unfunny bedroom farce.
Of course, Rex Harrison and Rosemary Harris are not
bad to look at, but they are simply given nothing to do. The
flimsy film collapses about them, Rachel Roberts and Louis
Jourdan.
If the movie had not been made, the actors would have
saved quite a bit of face (although they would have been out
a good deal of money.) And meanwhile, the audience could have
had, presumably, more fun at home.
For what its worth, the blame is not hard to place. Writer
John Mortimer has an academic comprehension of the stock
elements of French bedroom farce; unfaithful wives, jealous
husbands, a dull nephew, a mealy mouthed maid, a drunken
bell-hop and a bordello-hotel decorated in Art Nouveau.
He compiles this standard fare, with the film's ample
budget and abundance of talent in mind. He wastes Harrison,
in two roles, casting him both as a jealous husband and a sot.
But, Mortimer forgets the jokes, or figures the audience
knows them so well, they can't bear re-telling. Ignoring the
still funny tradition of Feydeau's Hotel Paradiso, or Labiche et
Martin's La Poudre aux yeux, Mortimer omits double-entendre
and lets two Harrisons fill in for double-take.
The script is alternately dull, boorish and silly. Harrison
the barrister (he poses for a Daumier lithograph) wins in
court: "Could this daughter of France ruin the flavor of one
of our national dishes with so much as a touch of arsenic."
Miss Harris, the suspicious wife, suspects her spouse of in-
fidelity: "My husband's braces (suspenders) ! And he didn't
leave them in the Christian Science reading room!" Ever her
emotive eyes can't save this one.
Harrison, the sot, says to Miss Harris, the apologetic: "Piss
off."
Partially because of Mortimer's ridiculous script, and par-
tially because he has no sense of comic timing and no flair for
the sight gag, director Jacques Charon gives no life to A Flea in
Her Ear.
Birds flutter, silk shimmers, and breasts heave beneath
gauze blouses, but nothing ever unfolds.

7:00

Salurday, November 23rd

I.

BLONDE VENUS
and
DEVIL IS A WOMAN
Both Starring
MARLENE DEITRICH
Directed by Von Sternberg
A 75c DOUBLE-FEATURE BARGAIN-
McKENNEY UNION (main lounge)
Ypsilanti
(across from water tower)

I*

I

I
* U
I

The enthusiasm of the singers and the quality demanded by the team of Blatt and Herbert
makes for an enjoyable evening of opera.

Her voice excels in the upper
octaves and she can call on de-
cent reserve power; in the lower
registers she is not as secure.
Her acting improved as the eve-
ning aged and her death scene,
preceded by memories of days
with Rodolpherleft a lump in
my usually adamant throat.
Franklin Dybdahl brought
maturity and stage assurance
to the role of Schaunard, and
David Rohrbaugh, looking more
like the Mad Hatter than a
philosopher, delivered his fa-
mous soliloquy to his overcoat
in a sober and moving manner;
elsewhere he seems somewhat
in his role.
It is important to add that
these singers represent the Sat-
urday and Tuesday cast. On
Friday and Monday, Robert
Zajac sings Rodolphe; Edward
Huls, Marcel; Gwendolyn Schef-
fel, Mimi; and Lynda Weston,
Musette.
In the pit, the orchestra play-
ed with amazing pitch control
(at least in contrast to Figaro's
orchestra) and a decent amount
of sensitivity to the dramatic
situation. The droll Prof. Blatt,
who conducted from memory
con amore, can obviously work
wonders in a short time; too
bad he could not have scheduled
more rehearsals.
On stage, the direction of
Ralph Herbert (a dead ringer
for Walter Matthau) never al-
lowed static situations to devel-
op. In fact, he overfilled the
stage in Act II with a corps of
stand-ins and gags that were
more distracting than amusing.
In Act I the four artists seemed
bewildered, if not overcome, by
all the activities demanded of
them.
Alice Crawford's sets were ef-
fective, I felt, especially in the

way the garret opened up behind
a scrim "window" to the build-
ings "across the street."
The opera was sung in Eng-
lish-a noble idea certainly-to
a translation by Blatt himself.
Except for a few bad moments,
the libretto was lucid and un-
obtrusive, the latter quality
being rare in such translations.

about the production was not
the occasional sloppiness, but
the way in which, when Marcel
cries "Courage!" and Rodolphe
moans "Mimi, Mimi' over the
expired body, a chill crept down
my spine. The effect is inherent
in Puccini's sublime music, and
Blatt and company get it across.

TONIGHT at
The Three Penny Opera
(Folk trio from Oberlin, Ohio) 421 Hill St.
8:30 P.M.
singing ragtime, ballads, and contemporary folk
music accompanied by 6 an! 12 string guitars and
fiddle.
NEXT MONDAY: Movie-"The Best Years of Our Lives"
sI-
TONIGHT:
JULIET of the SPIRITS
DIRECTED BY
ELLINI1

One very bad couplet comes to ~~
mind, however. Just before the liid iiiarvin is sexy .
exquisite "Cehe gelida manina," Uldll SSi
Rodolphe tells Mimi: "As for
your key don't mind it. It's Mad Marvin presents:
much too dark to find it." Such 3020 Washtenaw, Ph. 434-1782
doggerel should be corrected.USaturday Su y Between Ypsilanti & Ann Arbor UneF at he Y h Forum
The most important thing Saturday and Sunday 5th Avenue at Liberty 761-9700
-_-_l- ---Thursday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday: 11 p.m.
ATIO NAL EA NERN THE RATR 7 u e r a t io n A b o litio n Separate admission required.
and}Ei s IA'FRI EROS FILM PROGRAM
375NOMAPLE RD.-7691300 and- Seven provocative Films." Wilson Lindsey, Det. Free Press
ENDS TUESDAY PORTRAIT OF A GIRL by John Bale.
5N6300_5Operation Correction tSONG by Ron Taylor.
_SSAT.--345-6NG30-9:15Matte by Ron Taylor.
SUN-:00-345-6:30-9:15 OPERATION ABOLITION is a 45 minute film o C0L0R .are LOVE AMONG THE CHRISTIANS.
MIRISCH PICTURES presents about the student demonstrations against the House VIBRANT NUDE.
Un-American Activities Committee's session, in MY POLISH GIRL.
May, 1960. The film, anctioned and produced by
S~H UAC, attempts to prove that the student uprising;
was Communist led and Communist inspired. HUAC --
believed that Operation Abolition was the code name
for the Communist plot to destroy the Committee.
In the film a member of Congress says students have WELLHERE WE GO AGAIN-
been "toying with treason by demonstrating aginst
the Committee.
Unlike many of the Leni Riefenstahl Nazi propa-
ganda films, OPERATION ABOLITION is not "pret-
ty." As Stanley Kauffman, film.,critic for the NEW
STARTS WEDNESDAY REPUBLIC, said, "many of the people for whom this
film is intended might be as suspicious of a "pretty" IEA Y
film as they are of fancy foods and foreign accents."
SEAN OPERATION CORRECTION is the American Civil
Liberties Union's answer to HUAC. In the ACLU -
CuNuNERY version of the film, inserted subtitles and a revised
sound track expose the obvious factual and tem- r
BRIGITTE ' ' distortions of the original.isco n.recordsi c
BARDOT 7:00 & 9:05 ARCHITECTURE
662-8871 75Y AUDITORIUM S
10 MAJOR LABELS ON SALE
TECHNICOLOR* Try Daily ClassIfieds WE CAN'T TELL YOU WHAT'S ON SALE BUT IT'S WELL
WORTH YOUR WHILE TO STOP IN AND FIND OUT.
TOMORROW-SUNDAY, NOV. 24-11 A.M.-5 P.M.
The New -169
JAZZ BAND
LARRY DAVIDSON, Director
SATURDAY, NOV. 23 3:00 P.M.
ABO OUTHASORORITIS
Hill Auditorium FREE Admission ABOUT SORORITIES?
Go to the source for facts, not rumors
FLY WITHPahleiTa
UNION-LEAGUE
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2. ONLY Charter that flys regularly scheduled, I.A.T.A. air-
planes (SABENA and PANAM). Union Room 3 R-S
3. ONLY Charter backed by The University both verbally and

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